Timed tests and lengthy answers
Is it me or does anyone else find it practically impossible to do the timed tests when sentences with 7-8 words are tossed into the mix? When you have to get the translation 100% correct under time pressure that's beyond me entirely.
I can do timed practice in German but don't even try it for now in French. In my opinion the timed practice is for when you find non-timed one really easy (or even boring).
On the other hand, there is already enough pandering to the lowest common denominator round here. You will gain XPs fast with 3 word "sentences", but your learning will be nothing but an illusion. I recommend simply skipping over the long ones in timed practice.
I had the same feelings three years ago. Don't worry, it will improve over time.
I've been studying Czech for 3.5 years in London and still that's a tough ask to do in the 20 seconds or so you have to translate it perfectly.
Think about it. A professional typist might do perhaps 16-20 words in 20 seconds, in their native tongue. To expect someone to translate in their non-native tongue words that are not familiar at half the speed of professional typists is very tough imo.
The goal is to stop translating and start thinking in that non-native tongue. Time pressure forces you to achieve such transformation.
Thinking in a foreign language is not something that occurs while you're learning on DL, I think. It happens when you get more fluent than the top level, or at least in the few courses I've seen. Or maybe you can just keep repeating the materials and use other materials too. I think in two languages, I speak three other languages without explicitely translating (which is what you refer to by "thinking in the language") but now I'm learning Czech, I don't think I'll get to that point in Czech with just Duolingo.
I disagree with you on that. I'm no professional typist and yet I get around 70 words/min. :) As Jan said, the point is not to "translate" but rather to think in that language.
Fair enough. I must have misunderstood then, as there are timed tests on all levels, not only when you've attained a degree of mastery. There's no way I could write 23 words in 20 seconds in Czech, not even close.
I use timed practice when regular practice becomes easy in any given language/skill, or alternatively when I want to gild a lot of skills quickly or just want a challenge. Sometimes that means, depending on the language, that I only get 2-3 XP, but that doesn't mean it's not good practice.
Getting 20 XP but not actually learning anything/it being easy would defeat the object IMO.
I'm have exactly the same problem. A sentence containing this number of words may involve almost as many decisions regarding case, endings, word order etc. I really think they should triple the time available, but doubt the software will allow it. My other problem is I have an old computer and the audio stops working after ten minutes, so I have to used timed tests. Otherwise the non-timed tests keeps throwing audio at me until I'm back at zero. Progress is glacial.